Students at Bastrop High School submitted essays for the Louisiana Gear Up essay writing contest and the winners were awarded on Friday, Nov. 1.

Student authors were asked to practice the art of writing a college application essay. An admissions or application essay, sometimes called a personal statement, is often a common part of the university and college admissions process, especially at private institutions.

Such essays or personal statements are useful not only in the process of applying for college but also for scholarship and internship applications. This year's prompts were provided courtesy of The Common Application, a non-profit organization that provides college application services to institutions across the country.

Students were invited to choose one of five real college application essay prompts that are used by students from New York City to Los Angeles, and lots of places in between, in their quest for college acceptance. This way they could build a writing portfolio, get practice writing an application essay and compete for some cash.

Students were asked to choose an essay prompt from the five below, and write a short essay, no more than 650 words, in response.

The Background Story: Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it.

Learning from Failure: Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

A Belief or Idea: Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

A Place or Environment: Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?

The Transition to Adulthood: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

Contest winners were awarded $100 for 1st place, $50 for 2nd place and $25 for 3rd place. The following is a list of the essay contest winners from BHS:

11th grade, 1st place, Logan Bowe, $100

11th grade, 2nd place, Laura Harper, $50

11th grade, 3rd place, Miranda Waters, $25

12th grade, 1st place, Rashini Tappin, $100

12th grade, 2nd place, Jasmine Moore, $50

12th grade, 3rd place, Clay Winnon, $25